Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Random House Children's Non-Fiction

Sirocco: The rock-star kakapo by Sarah Ell, published by Random House

There have been several books written about the inquisitive and unique kakapo: A Booming in the Night by Ben Brown, Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery photographed by Nic Bishop, and Kakapo-Rescued from the Brink of Extinction by Alison Ballance. But we cannot get enough of the world's only flightless parrot - Sirocco: The rock-star kakapo is a welcome addition. 

Sirocco came to world attention when he jumped on the head of a British TV presenter's head and began to flap his wings; signalling he wanted to find a mate. The YouTube clip was watched by millions. Since then Sirocco has become a conservation ambassador and now has a Facebook page and Twitter account, with thousands of followers. He also tours zoos around New Zealand so that children can see what all the fuss is about; saving the world's rarest parrot.

Sarah Ell begins the story when Sirocco hatched and struggled for survival.We learn about the conservation programme in action through Sirocco's own life story. We also find out the consequences of what happens when a wild animal imprints on humans.  Throughout the book are stunning photographs of kakapo; often with a black background - which is appropriate because they are a night bird. At the back of the book are text boxes with interesting facts about kakapo; a question and answer page; a page about how the Kakapo Recovery Programme is turning the tide; further reading suggestions; and an index.  A delightful book for 6-8 year olds to find out more about one of New Zealand's rarest birds and an excellent classroom resource.

Classroom Idea:  Pair 'A Booming in the Night' with 'Sirocco: The rock-star Kakapo' and look closely at how the authors have used their research - compare and contrast.

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